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Peter Greenaway: Interviews [Paperback]

Peter Greenaway , Marguerite Gras , Vernon W. Gras
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

July 1 2000 Conversations with Filmmakers
Peter Greenaway: Interviews edited by Vernon Gras and Marguerite Gras In these twenty-one interviews, filmmaker Peter Greenaway expresses his film aesthetic and discusses his combat with the dominant Hollywood style of filmmaking. His films have run unmistakably against the main current of present cinematic practice, from the short film Windows in the mid-seventies, to his more popular but nonetheless challenging films such as A Zed and Two Noughts and The Pillow Book in the nineties. In this collection, the ever-controversial Greenaway discusses his philosophies of film, art, aesthetics, literature, and reality, criticizing and even condemning the standard fare of what he calls Hollywood cinema. For him such films tell stories or they translate literature with its linear narrative onto a medium that he feels should be preeminently visual. He finds that, instead of foregrounding the image and the composition of visual elements as in the long history of painting, Hollywood-style directors seem mesmerized by the "and then and then" narrative. In these provocative interviews Greenaway tells of his ambition to make cinema a medium based more on image than on narrative. He explains his painterly approach in such films as Prospero's Books and The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover, defends his use of total nudity of both sexes, and declares that traditional literary-based cinema is dead. He believes that the most creative imaginations, the most innovative technologies, and the greatest financial resources are being devoted to television and the Internet and that Hollywood moviemaking is no longer in the vanguard. Vernon Gras is a professor of English and cultural studies at George Mason University. Marguerite Gras served as a legislative research staffer at the United States House of Representatives, 1974-1991.

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First Sentence
THERE IS NO DOUBT who the British cinema's new folk hero is: Tulse Luper, ornithologist extraordinary, member of the IRR (Institute of Reclamation and Restoration) and apocryphal hero of British filmmaker Peter Greenaway's two most recent films. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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4.0 out of 5 stars Peter Greenaway Nov. 18 2001
Format:Paperback
A good way to clear the table of unwanted guests is to mention the name Peter Greenaway. These five syllables are known to cause pink cheeks and raised voices in both lovers and haters of pretentiousness in cinema. I would then recommend the perfect gift to these "art lovers": Peter Greenaway: Interviews, edited by Vernon Gras and Marguerite Gras.
One of the many aspects of Greenaway's work that I admire is the way he always causes walkouts during screenings of his films, which include The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover; A Zed and Two Noughts; and The Belly of an Architect. At every Greenaway film I have seen there have been noisy exits by disgusted moviegoers. Not only that, but total strangers have come up to me in the theater lobby and said, "Isn't that the worst movie you have ever seen?" That alone makes me a Greenaway fan for life, aside from the fact that his work is completely involving, beautiful, and lots of fun. Especially fun is Greenaway's obsession with lists and numbers, as well as his witty commentary on nature and the way that systems control information -- and life itself. A far cry from minimalism, Greenaway's films are all works of excess. And this (very) British filmmaker knows how to use multimedia in his films -- which brings up the subject of pretentiousness.
Strangely, for a man who has made over 20 films, Greenaway seems to think that after a century, cinema is pretty much a dead medium. He feels that literature and especially painting are way ahead of film, that the one thing holding back cinema is the Hollywood narrative.
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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Peter Greenaway Nov. 18 2001
By Tosh Berman/TamTam Books - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
A good way to clear the table of unwanted guests is to mention the name Peter Greenaway. These five syllables are known to cause pink cheeks and raised voices in both lovers and haters of pretentiousness in cinema. I would then recommend the perfect gift to these "art lovers": Peter Greenaway: Interviews, edited by Vernon Gras and Marguerite Gras.
One of the many aspects of Greenaway's work that I admire is the way he always causes walkouts during screenings of his films, which include The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover; A Zed and Two Noughts; and The Belly of an Architect. At every Greenaway film I have seen there have been noisy exits by disgusted moviegoers. Not only that, but total strangers have come up to me in the theater lobby and said, "Isn't that the worst movie you have ever seen?" That alone makes me a Greenaway fan for life, aside from the fact that his work is completely involving, beautiful, and lots of fun. Especially fun is Greenaway's obsession with lists and numbers, as well as his witty commentary on nature and the way that systems control information -- and life itself. A far cry from minimalism, Greenaway's films are all works of excess. And this (very) British filmmaker knows how to use multimedia in his films -- which brings up the subject of pretentiousness.
Strangely, for a man who has made over 20 films, Greenaway seems to think that after a century, cinema is pretty much a dead medium. He feels that literature and especially painting are way ahead of film, that the one thing holding back cinema is the Hollywood narrative. The problem with cinema is that it relies on books or stories, when it should be more like a painting -- which, according to Greenaway, gives a more complete picture emotionally and intellectually than a standard narrative.
Peter Greenaway is a fascinating collection of interviews from various magazines and newspapers. In some of the interviews, Greenaway comes off as an English University professor; in others as an arrogant lecturer. Personally, I like this "arrogant" stance, because his anger and frustration is pretty much on the mark when it comes to what has become of commercial cinema: generic stories shown at the local mall. The only major problem with this volume is that it doesn't include a filmography or bibliography.
In addition to making movies, Greenaway is also a painter, novelist, and curator. His latest project is Tulse Luper's Suitcase, which is a combination of cinema, CD-ROM, and a website. One can view this project as it unfolds at [...]
5.0 out of 5 stars A Personal Visit Oct. 30 2013
By Pompton Tom - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It was easy to imagine that Peter Greenaway was sitting in your living room having a one on one conversation about his work. The interviewers asked the right questions to get the interesting responses they received.
5.0 out of 5 stars ABOUT THE SERIES July 10 2008
By Cesar Diaz - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I found two volumes of this "Conversations With Filmmakers Series" at a university library in Japan, and as soon as I could, I bought both for my personal library: Jim Jarmusch and Peter Greenaway. The reason: I think that, if you do a map of contemporary filmmaking, the North Pole and the South Pole would be these two gentlemen. Everything else is somewhere in between. I don't know if any of these two directors is actually so clear, so witty and so self aware, or if it is just good editing work, but very few times you'll find books of film criticism to be so insightful, so revealing and yet, so simple. I know this sounds vulgar, but I'd give up stuff like Film Semiotics if only the University Press of Mississippi had published more books of these series. I just ordered a third book: Akira Kurosawa.
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